‘Home’ is Where the Heart is

Dr. Sarah Jameson
2012 Conference

This paper explores female gender identity and informs belonging and place from a narrative auto ethnographic position. Using family artefacts I explore my migrant history, my community, and my individual story. The produced responses are a key navigational strategy to re-chart my life. This investigation is located in my experience of being a British involuntary child migrant. My identity formation was fractured when immigration disrupted my expectation for continuity and I lived contrapuntally with a foot in both the pre-emigration and post-immigration worlds. I investigate and map gendered identity and I gain insight and understanding of my own position and reform at the same time notions of ‘home’. I reflect on how I have negotiated or broken the internalised code a culture supplies concerning how life should be experienced. Meaning and a sense of belonging are found in whatever place within or outside of Australia that I inhabit. Telling stories through the creation of art works generates a deeper understanding of belonging and raises important issues that have significance for all Australians. This country is comprised of Indigenous nations, the overlay of a white settler colony and migrants from many countries. My story becomes a narrative with a wider audience – one relevant to Australian identity. If a culture fails to tell stories it can face becoming a monolithic ‘one size fits all’ nation.

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About the author

Born in the UK I emigrated with my parents to Australia as a ‘ten-pound Pom’. As a visual artist I examine gender identity from a feminist psychoanalytical perspective and use multi media printmaking, drawing, photography and sewing in 2D and 3D installation. My PhD Research project completed in May 2012 at RMIT University, Melbourne was titled Fractured portraits: exploring migration faultlines. I am an educator in the secondary and tertiary visual arts sector.